Congress

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 11

Some in GOP struggle with how — or whether — to defend Trump as Democrats ready to go public with investigation

Then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, left, and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, third from left, flank presidential adviser Jared Kushner as President Donald Trump speaks during a working lunch with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy at the White House in September 2017. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump announced that he intends to release a White House summary of a call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that occurred earlier than the July 25 conversation that prompted House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

 

“I am sure you will find them tantalizing!” He tweeted, adding it will be made public “sometime this week.”

 

The president had first floated the possibility of releasing the transcript late last week.

Trump’s announcement comes as Republicans in Congress continue grappling with how — or whether — they are defending Trump as House Democrats move to the public phase of their impeachment inquiry this week.

Some GOP members have condemned Trump for withholding military aid and a White House meeting with Zelenskiy as he sought to pressure Zelenskiy into investigating Trump’s rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden — but have said such a move falls short of the impeachment threshold.

Others have conditioned impeachment on the president’s motives in calling for the investigations into the Bidens and accusations of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

And the House Intelligence Committee GOP signaled over the weekend that it wants to focus on the substance of Trump’s claims of corruption by his political rivals, asking Democratic Chairman Adam B. Schiff to compel Hunter Biden, his business partner, and a former Democratic National Committee staffer to testify publicly before the impeachment panel.

Here is the latest on the impeachment inquiry:

Mulvaney goes solo: Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will be filing his own lawsuit seeking to determine whether he is required to testify before the House’s impeachment inquiry.

The Mulvaney case will be considered alongside the existing case of former National Security Council official Charles Kupperman but will remain separate, according to court filings Monday evening. Mulvaney had attempted to join the Kupperman lawsuit during a 5 p.m. hearing, which was held by teleconference because of the federal holiday.

More transcripts released: The transcripts of testimony given by Laura Cooper and Christopher Anderson, both former assistants to Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, were released Monday. 

Cooper testified in late October, complying with a subpoena issued by Schiff. The Defense Department had ordered Cooper not to testify, and her testimony was delayed several hours by disruptions from other House members. 

Proud Pompeo: As State Department officials prepare to publicly testify in the House impeachment inquiry this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he hopes they’ll “be candid” and tell lawmakers what they know.

“I hope everyone who testifies will go do so truthfully, accurately,” Pompeo said Monday in an interview on WCSC-TV. “When they do, the oversight role will have been performed, and I think America will come to see what took place here. I was part of America’s Ukraine policy. We were very clear.”

Pompeo went on to say that the State Department “wanted to make sure that the corruption that has been existing in Ukraine for an awfully long time was reduced, and President Zelensky had the capability to do that.”

Pompeo also said the Trump administration, unlike the previous administration, provided Ukraine with defense weapons they can use to fight against the Russians.

“I am proud of what the administration did with its Ukraine policy,” he said.

Big scam: Trump, less than an hour before he was slated to participate in a Veterans Day event in New York, tweeted that he wants the intelligence community whistleblower and his attorney, Mark Zaid, investigated for “fraud!” He did not say which law enforcement entity should conduct such a probe. “The lawyer for the Whistleblower takes away all credibility from this big Impeachment Scam! It should be ended,” he wrote.

“Doctoring transcripts”: Trump accused Schiff of releasing “doctored transcripts” of closed-door impeach depositions. He called on House Republicans to release “their own transcripts!”

Giuliani’s denials: A Former Ukrainian associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Guiliani said over the weekend that Giuliani directed him this past summer to inform the Zelenskiy administration that unless it launched the investigations into the Bidens, Trump would freeze military aid and Vice President Mike Pence would not attend Zelenskiy’s swearing-in.

Giuliani has vociferously denied the allegation from his former associate, Lev Parnas, who was indicted and detained last month.

Haley’s book: Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley wrote in her new book that former Chief of Staff John Kelly and ex-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson actively resisted Trump’s policy goals.

“Here you have two key people in an administration undermining the president,” Haley said in a follow-up interview with the Washington Post.

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